The city of Baltimore is home to about 620,000 people, and is the 24th largest city in the US. Like many US cities, Baltimore’s history included great industrial development in the 1800s, driven especially by the port of Baltimore, which was followed by a time of some decline and transformation.
While experiencing some of the poverty, drug use, and crime that many American cities struggle with today, Baltimore is a complex and beautiful city as well. Baltimore is located on the Chesapeake Bay, and has access to natural beauty in both waterfront areas as well as a number of parks and natural areas (especially a bit outside the city). Baltimore also has most of the benefits of a big city with culture, events and activities to suit a wide variety of interests. The Baltimore area has been at the crossroads of history in many eras, with ties to both the nation’s founding and the civil war. The National Aquarium is one of the largest in the country, and is only one of the many museums in the city. The Baltimore Orioles and Ravens give sports fans plenty to be excited about (some years more than others, of course). Additionally, its location near Washington, DC gives volunteers the opportunity to participate in some of the unique activities involving the nation’s capital. Our volunteers often find themselves with so many opportunities for things to do, they have a hard time deciding on just one at a time!
The BSVM house is located in one of the poorer, predominantly African-American neighborhoods in southwest Baltimore. Volunteers who serve with the program do make a choice to be in closer solidarity with the people they serve by also living in the neighborhood alongside them. We take special care to equip volunteers to live where they do, and find that while volunteers say they are sometimes challenged to think and behave somewhat differently, they also find this different living style to be rewarding as well. We hope the prospect of living in southwest Baltimore sounds like a fun and rewarding challenge to you!
The roots of injustice in Baltimore are deep. Your presence as a Bon Secours Volunteer is greatly needed!